Previous to ‘Logan’ Hugh Jackman has portrayed Wolverine eight times. Whilst not all eight of these films are fantastic examples of the superhero genre what was constant in them all was Jackman’s performances. He is this character, it’s hard to imagine anyone else playing him. Subsequently, it’s a massive shame that his previous solo outings as Wolverine haven’t been a success. Coming off the back of those films and the poorly received ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ last year could ‘Logan’ finally deliver the Wolverine movie that both Jackman and fans deserve?
It’s with genuine happiness and excitement that I can tell you it does. Unlike previous X-Men movies, ‘Logan’ isn’t bogged down with tens of characters. Instead the film focuses it’s attention on the characters we care about. With this being Jackman’s ninth and final performance as Wolverine it’s no surprise that his work here is fantastic. He has new demons to wrestle with and he took to the challenge of a different kind of portrayal of the character really well. Jackman will be able to look back on his time in this role with pride knowing that his performance here was the peak of his time as Wolverine. Joining Wolverine for ‘Logan’ is another fan favourite from this series, Professor X. Patrick Stewart reprises his role once more also facing challenges with a more developed version of the character than he was maybe used to. Stewart rises to this in spectacular fashion, almost stealing the thunder from Jackman. This pair have worked together countless times before and we already know they have a wonderful chemistry. This is somehow topped in ‘Logan’ being equally humourous as it is heartfelt.
Alongside these two X-Men heavyweights the rest of the cast work well too. Dafne Keen makes an incredible film debut as X-23. Her performance is so accomplished for such a young actress and the writing for her character enhanced the film perfectly. Stephen Merchant stars as another mutant, Caliban. While his involvement isn’t as big as other characters he adds plenty to the picture. Merchant makes the most of his limited screen time with a comedic and somewhat emotional performance. The villains of the piece are played by Richard E. Grant & Boyd Holbrook. They perform well in these roles but unfortunately they do fall victim to the underdeveloped Marvel antagonists curse. However, saying that this film is about Logan and to give any more attention to the villains could have taken away from the drama surrounding the central character. For this reason the fact that they weren’t the best developed characters can be forgiven.
So with the characters and cast pretty much nailing it, the rest of the film was playing catch up. The action sequences in the film certainly weren’t about to let ‘Logan’ down though. Easily the most brutal fight sequences any Marvel film has ever seen. The violence levels are off the scale here, appropriately so though. These scenes matched the intensity of the drama and helped show the hurt, aggression and rage that consumed so many of the characters. Thankfully, the narrative that contained this blood curdling violence was just as impressive. Director James Mangold, who co-wrote the screenplay, has proved that you don’t need a destruction filled, effects heavy finale with a supernatural hole in the sky to make superhero movies entertaining. Instead he grounds the narrative in deep character study allowing the fans to spend time with their much loved heroes without mistreatment.
‘Logan’ is a triumph and will forever be remembered as one of, if not the best X-Men movie there has ever been. The whole cast, but especially Jackman & Stewart, will capture the hearts of so many with their raw and passionate performances. Mangold has understood the film that Wolverine needed to have. Caring little for spectacle he instead crafts an interesting and emotional drama with our favourite characters at the core. In doing so he has given Hugh Jackman the swansong we were all hoping for and laid to rest, at least for now, the character of Wolverine in almost perfect fashion.
Rating – 9.5/10
Question: What is your favourite X-Men movie?
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